Affected Hindu community people on Thursday named about 50 suspected attackers for Wednesday’s fierce attack on the religious minority at Noagaon village of Shalla upazila in Sunamganj as protests by political parties and socio-cultural groups continued against the attack.
Until 7:30pm on Thursday, Habibpur union council chairman Bibekananda Majumdar Bakul, whose house also came under attack on Wednesday, along with other affected family members, was compiling the names of attackers to put those on the first information report to be filed with the Sulla police station.
Naogaon resident Paritash Talukdar Habul said they identified about 50 people of nearby three villages under Dirai Sarmangal union and the attack was led by the union council member Shahidul Islam Swadhin and his family members.
He said Shahidul had enmity with affected villagers over the lease contact of some water bodies in Naogaon.
‘Shahidul, in the past, threatened the community members that he would teach a good lesson and he took the opportunity in the pretext of the issue of posting an anti-religious post on Facebook,’ said Paritash Talukdar Habul.
He said they demanded the criminals should be brought to justice.
The Sulla police station officer-in-charge Nazmul Haque said in the evening that as the affected families were making delay in filing the complaint, the police authorities filed a complaint against 500 to 700 unnamed villagers for the attack.
‘None has so far been arrested,’ said the police official.
The home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters Dhaka on the day that no instigators would be spared. He said the law enforcement agencies were working on it.
On Wednesday, the villagers from Dirai Sarmangal union staged a demonstration and a section of them carried out the attack on the minorities, damaging several dozens of houses following a Facebook post by a Hindu youth against Hefazat-e-Islam joint secretary general Mamunul Haque.
The Sulla police officials said that a Hindu youth, Jhuman Das Apan, 28, was arrested for his alleged Facebook post and was sent to jail on a court order under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Hindu community members said a photoshopped image of Hefazat leader Mamunul Haque with shoes was shared from the profile of the youth.
Sulla upazila parished chairman Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mahmud said the local authorities could finally convince the agitators who had staged demonstration following the Facebook post and make them go back.
‘When they were returning to their villages, we saw another group coming from a different direction and they are the ones who carried out the attack,’ said Mahmud, who also the secretary of the Sulla Awami League unit.
Asked whether the local administration failed to protect the minorities, he replied that they had taken precautionary measures sensing trouble on Tuesday night and Sulla Upazila nirbahi officer had held a meeting with the local influencers to reduce the commotion and took their undertaking.
Mahmud’s brother and Rapid Action Battalion director general Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun flew to Sulla and visited the affected houses in the Hindu-dominated village.
He issued a warning by saying that those who tried to disturb the communal harmony, their hands would be smashed.
Habibpur union council member Biswarup Das said they identified the affected families as the local government authorities were distributing relief materials.
The state-owned Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported that road transport and bridges minister and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Thursday said that stern actions would be taken against those involved in vandalism and looting of the houses of the Hindu community.
He made the comment following a meeting with the Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami at the minister’s office.
Different political, rights groups and social platforms condemned the attack on the Hindu community and demanded immediate arrest of the suspects.
Human Rights Forum Bangladesh, Ain O Salish Kendra and Bangladesh Mahila Parisad, in separate statements, condemned the attack and called to ensure the safety of the minority people.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh and the Socialist Party of Bangladesh in separate statements also condemned the attack and demanded justice.
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